Preparing for the Asylum Interview

Purpose of the Interview

The interview is your opportunity to tell your own, personal story about what happened to you in your home country and why you decided to come to Ireland.

It is very important to be well prepared for it.

Register with Refugee Legal Service

You should register with the “Refugee Legal Service” (RLS) immediately. This service is confidential, independent of the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE) and is there to help you.

You can register in writing. Fill out the registration form and send it together to the Refugee Legal Service. You find this form as the last page of the information pack you receive from the Department of Justice.

Refugee Legal Service

Smithfield Law Centre

48-49 North Brunswick Street

Georges Lane




Tel:+353 1 646 9600

Fax:+353 1 671 0200

Register as soon as possible, because the RLS will need time to arrange a personal caseworker for you. 

If you travel to Dublin for a legal consultation with the Refugee Legal Service, the Community Welfare Officer will give you funding for the travel expenses. In some cases this is only after you come back from the consultation. You need to bring back a letter of proof from your caseworker that you have attended legal consultation and also all travel receipts.

You can contact your Refugee Legal Service caseworker anytime with questions. You should make contact if you change address, or if you receive any correspondence from the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE).

If you have not received legal advice before your interview, New Horizon may be able to give you a letter stating this. Present it to the interviewer on the day of your interview. This letter will then be enclosed in your case file and may be of use later.

Important Preparation

If you do not have a copy of your “84-Question-Questionaire”, that you filled out, contact the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE) immediately, and ask for a copy.


Make sure that all of your immediate family members are listed in the application. If they are not it may be difficult to get them admitted on a family reunification visa when your own refugee status is recognised.

A member of the family in relation to a person with refugee or subsidiary protection status means:

  • Where a refugee or sponsor is married or in a civil partnership, their spouse or civil partner, providing that the marriage or civil partnership is in existence when the application for family reunification is made;
  • Where a refugee or sponsor is under the age of 18 years and is not married, their parents;
  • The child of a refugee or sponsor who on the date of the application for family reunification is under 18 years and not married.

Write down your own case story.

Be as detailed as possible. Try to remember every little incident that happened. Maybe it seemed irrelevant at the time, now it is important. Try to remember exact dates of all events and incidents. Write your story exactly in the order as it happened.

Check the questions and your answers to the “84-Question-Questionnaire that you had to fill out after you arrived in Ireland. These questions and answers will be reviewed and checked for truth in your interview. Question “84” (why did you come to Ireland seeking refugee status?) will be asked again by the interviewer.

Make sure that your story is consistent with the answers you gave to the questionnaire. If you have made a mistake in the questionnaire tell the interviewer that early in the interview.

Read your story out aloud to yourself every day. Even though you will not be able to tell your story exactly this way in the interview, this is your chance to build up your self confidence.

Make a photocopy of every document or letter and every form that you fill out before you send it to the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE).

Try to collect as much written proof as possible about your claim for asylum ( for example, death certificate from family member/friend, membership papers of a particular trade union, qualification papers for skills and education  and references

If possible and only if 100% safe, you can contact family or friends in your home country to request any of these documents. Be very careful not to expose your contact when doing this, it can be very dangerous for them.

Collect specific information about your home country and the political situation at the time you fled. Make sure it relates to your own case. You can collect this information from:

  • Books in the library
  • Internet (available in the library)

If you need help researching information ask any New Horizon member.

The interviewer will ask you questions like:

  • What caused you to leave your country?
  • Why did you not move into a different part of your country instead?
  • Why did you leave your country last month and not one year ago?

Be sure to have clear answers to these questions.

Attending the Interview

When you receive your interview date, inform your community welfare officer (CWO). He or she will give you the money for your trip to Dublin before you go.

In the letter with the interview date, you are asked to fill out a confirmation form. It is important to send it back to the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE).

If you need an interpreter make sure to indicate this on the form. Every reasonable effort will be made to provide an interpreter in your own language.

You can request in writing to be accompanied by an observer. This observer is not a legal representative and cannot speak during the interview. A request for an observer may be refused by the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE).

You can request in advance an interviewer and interpreter of your own gender. If your story involves details that you would not want to discuss with a member of the opposite sex you should request this. This request cannot be refused by the Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE).

If you have children, make arrangements for someone to look after them while you are at your interview. The Department of Justice and Equality (DOJE) does not provide a person to take care of your child during that time.